This is 38!

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
— Dr. Maya Angelou


A few years ago God told me I was going to have a daughter and her name would be Nia. Nia means purpose. When I watch things on tv, see my friends have children, or have random encounters with a pregnant person … I am triggered. Not unhappy for them or jealous but definitely triggered.

Transparent moment… I am barren.

Barren for me means… alone. Hence why this topic may be on my mind today. My 38th birthday.

I was told at 15 that I would have “difficulty” conceiving because my periods were irregular. I would go months without one and then I would have one for weeks! (TMI sorry!)

I NEVER imagined not being a mother. I just knew it would be difficult for me.

In October 2014 I approached my OBGYN about freezing my eggs and she told me it was “unnecessary.” I knew it my gut it was time to have a baby but I allowed others to let me think I should wait … or that I had more time. I now know I should NOT have listened to ANYONE. ( But I digress).

I had a partial hysterectomy in October 2015 when I started to not feel well and doctors discovered a tumor on my left ovary. My oncologist did a partial because she knew I did not have children and she wanted to “give me a chance.” I went through chemotherapy and took Lupron injections to help protect my remaining ovary. I was told to wait a year after having chemo to begin “trying” to have a baby or considering an egg retrieval.

December 2017 I started having regular periods for the first time in my life. They were coming at the same time each month. I called my best friend and said “my period has come the same week three months in a row!!” This was exciting news for us because she knew this meant my body was healing. I went to the doctor and shared the news. My doctor was excited as well. She told me that once I had six months of regular periods I would get a referral to a endocrinologist. I was excited because I now had options. I had hope.

In March of 2018, three moths into my regular periods I started having painful periods again. I was seeing a gastroenterologist for a separate issue, so I had a cat scan that showed polyps in my intestine. I scheduled surgery to remove them and dismissed any connection to my reproductive system because … for the first time I WAS GETTING A regular PERIOD! Weeks went by and I had cramping and annoying stomach pains; similar to pains I had leading up to my last surgery. On April 6, 2018 I left work and went to the emergency room. I cried when I got there because I knew something was wrong. They ran tests, did x-rays, and they did a vaginal sonogram. “It’s a bowel obstruction- oh and you have a cyst on your remaining ovary so follow up with your Obgyn in a few months to check on it.” A bowel obstruction is hospital terms for CONSTIPATED. I was sent home and told to take laxatives. I felt so defeated and still in a lot of pain. I knew something was wrong.

The following week it just so happened to be my three month check up with my oncologist and I mentioned that I had been in the emergency room the week before. He ordered a cat scan and checked my tumor markers (CA-125). He called the next day and said my tumor marker numbers were “elevated but still in the normal range." He said he would know more once I had the cat scan. I had the scan the following Thursday. I left and before I could get in my house he called.

“Lavone we found two tumors. One big one on your remaining ovary and another one on your liver. I just want you to be aware that I am calling your gynecological oncologist and recommending a full hysterectomy.” Ten minutes later she called and said I needed to come in the next day. I asked if I could come Monday instead so I could tell my students I was leaving. I knew I would not be returning that school year.

That weekend was the strangest weekend. I felt happy, at peace, and full of joy. I had a photoshoot with my line sisters, dinner with my coworkers, and everyone commented on how well I was handling everything. I was not worried at all. But why? I had just heard this AWFUL and DEVASTATING news. How could I not be worried?

It was shock.

Monday, April 23, 2018 when I went to see my doctor she did another exam. She looked at the cyst from every angle. She checked the charts and checked me again. She told me that since Thursday my cyst had grown. Substantially.

She said, “we will need to do a major open surgery because this tumor is big.” I can remember her saying that because my mother walked into the room when she was saying it. Tumor? I thought it was a cyst. She then said, “once you heal from surgery you will begin six rounds of chemotherapy. Taxol and carboplatin.”

Damn.

My mother reacted. She usually doesn’t. She said, “WHAT!? How do you know it’s cancer? Why does she have to do chemo again?” "Can you do a different type of chemo because the taxol made her really sick last time!” The doctor said it is standard procedure but especially with my history I would need to begin chemo again. This tumor looked cancerous. They knew.

It was back. This is happening … again!

My reaction was strange. I got dressed and said very little. I’ve done this before. I will do it again. I guess that is what I was thinking. This time I will do it BETTER. I guess I thought that too.

The very next day, April 24, 2018 I had my hysterectomy. I felt calm going into the operating room. I felt weird, out of body, strange… but calm. It was not until I woke up in the recovery room that:

ALL. HELL. BROKE. LOOSE!

God lied. How would I become a mother when I was just GUTTED? Why would he tell me about Nia or show me what she would look like if I was going to end up here? Why would he do this to me?

I will never be able to explain what it feels like to feel that the one person who I have all faith in had let me down. I was devastated. I have NEVER been in such agonizing mental and physical pain. I could feel my body burning and throbbing from the inside out. I felt EMPTY. Like someone had ripped my insides out without medication… truth is… they did. I laid in the recovery room wanting to scream but there were tubes in my mouth and I was still drowsy so I could not speak. I am trying to explain the pain but there truly are no words. It was just awful. I can remember trying to scream for help but realized that there was nothing they could give me to help … I was an unfixable pain.

I was mourning. I was grieving. I was overwhelmed. I was empty. Barren. A shell. No longer a woman. I was alone…

this time forever.

That is how I felt that day …

But thanks be to God…

After months of prayer, chemo, near death experiences, suicidal thoughts, depressed episodes, confusion, and so on… God saved me. AGAIN. And he proved that my life still has purpose. He allowed me to see 38.

8 months later… 6 months of chemo later… on January 29, 2019, today, my 38th birthday I birthed a new thing. Nia. My legacy. Today, on my birthday, my paperwork is complete and I am now the owner of Now I Am Nia, LLC which is a brand created to inspire people to consider God’s purpose. I am pretty sure this brand is meant to inspire me (lol) but I genuinely do pray that others come along for the journey.

Nia, my legacy, lives and whatever “she” is to become… I love her already.

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